Nigerians in London, United Kingdom, have expressed frustration over the compulsory payment of £30 (about ₦10, 000) for the registration of the Bank Verification (VBN) Number, as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Apparently unhappy over their plight, some of them during the week stormed the Nigeria High Commission in London to protest against the directive of the apex bank. While some others took to the social media to express their displeasure over the compulsory payment.
Though the BVN registration in Nigeria is free, Nigerians living in London have had to part with N10, 000 to enrol on the exercise.
klem93 a user of a popular blogging platform, Nairaland, said he was shocked to have seen photos of Nigerians thronging the Nigeria High Commission in London in frustration.
He wrote, “I thought it is going to be smooth sailing as I read that BVN for Nigerians in London had begun. I didn’t know it is going to be the same way as it went in Nigeria. A reader of my blog who lives in London wrote me an email: ‘The Nigeria High Commission in London needs an urgent overhaul. This afternoon, we Nigerians were treated like animals in Fleet Street, London, all because we wanted to do BVN for those of us who have accounts in Nigeria.
“Things soon became chaotic and someone called police on us. They allowed us to converge on the street and then locked us out. We were also being forced to pay £30.00 each, but none of the officials or the website could explain what the money was meant for. Is it not free in Nigeria?”
Eleojoe23, another user of the platform, protested, “£30? What for? They truly deserve an explanation. Maybe the high commission thinks that since they live in London, they should have enough money to spare. Do they think people just go out and pick money on the streets in London?”
Another user of the platform, Julioralph, said, “30 pounds for what? Members of staff at the high commission should be changed. Even the CBN is at fault as well; they don’t have proper plans for those abroad concerning this BVN stuff.”
The directive was said to have been issued by the apex bank. This was confirmed by some sections of the Nigeria community in the UK such as the UK chapter of the All Progressives Congress and Zenith Bank Plc.
Attempts to get the comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this ere not successful as the ministry’s spokesperson, Ogbole Ahmedu-Ode, could not be reached on the phone. He also did not respond to a text message that was sent to him.
But further investigations at the ministry showed that the ministry was not involved in the BVN registration held in the UK.
A highly placed official in the ministry explained that the Nigeria High Commission in UK was not involved in the BVN registration, stressing that it was handled by a private firm which has no relationship with the embassy.
The source said that the high commission officials saw the posters advertising the BVN registration in London like other members of the public, noting that the “BVN registration was the private affair of a private company.”
“Neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Nigeria High Commission in the UK was involved in the BVN registration; the exercise was handled by a private company which has no relationship with the ministry or the high commission,” the official said on Friday.